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Kaley Thompson playing for Elon scan the field during a CAA conference game against Hofstra in April at Rudd Stadium.
Kaley Thompson playing for Elon scan the field during a CAA conference game against Hofstra in April at Rudd Stadium. (Courtesy of Elon Athletics)

Kaley Thompson, a 2018 Patterson Mill graduate, had a standout rookie season for the Elon University women’s lacrosse team this spring — a season that included a spot on the 2019 CAA All-Rookie Team and the honor of being named the CAA Rookie of the Year for 2019.

Despite that, Thompson is moving on and couldn’t be happier.

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“I got admitted last week into [the University of] Michigan and, yeah, I decided to transfer,” Thompson said Monday.

At Elon, Thompson, finished with 33 goals and seven assists for 40 points in 16 games. She had a team-best 61 draw controls with 16 ground balls, and scored four goals and matched the program record with four assists for eight points in a victory over Winthrop.

She also had eight draw controls against the Eagles, tying for the third-most in a game in program history. Thompson scored a season-high six goals with two ground balls and five draw controls in win over Drexel.

“Some of those accolades that I got were just me having the ability to just play my thing and not be nervous being a freshman. Nerves weren’t really a thing for me,” Thompson said.

Still, Thompson needed to move on. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right place for me, but having the year that I had there, it was certainly an experience that I’m extremely thankful for,” Thompson said. “Because, if it wasn’t for the year I had at Elon, I wouldn’t be going to Michigan to play lacrosse, so I am extremely grateful.”

Thompson was not fixed on Michigan as he she made visits to other schools.

“I made a number of visits, I received a few offers, a handful of offers from these other schools that I was looking at and Michigan was just — it was almost like, since it was my second time around ... I thought I really knew what I wanted,” Thompson said. “I knew because Elon didn’t have these things and so, I wanted a bigger school, I wanted bigger athletics, I still wanted a strong academic school, but I also wanted to push myself on the lacrosse spectrum.“

Others on the list included Stony Brook, Loyola and Virginia Tech.

“When I visited [Michigan’s] campus, I was in shock with how beautiful it was, how huge the athletics are there, just how much I could see myself being successful there. So, that’s what really pushed me to Michigan.”

Virginia Tech was close in terms of what Thompson was looking for, but Michigan was just it. “Michigan just has, oh my gosh, I just absolutely loved it, I could talk about it all day,” Thompson said. “I wanted that big athletic school feel and I knew Michigan was going to be able to provide that for me the most.”

Thompson also has a friend and teammate at Michigan, 2018 Bel Air graduate Julia Henry.

“I had talked to her about the school before I even visited. It was really reassuring to know that I already have someone there, just because going to a brand new school, not knowing anyone, already been there and done that because of my freshman experience,” Thompson said. “It’s just really cool that I can be able to play with her again, just that I played club lacrosse with her, too.”

Thompson will always remember her time at Elon. “I hope to think I helped grow some of the girls, in just having that exposure, really try to push them to that next level,” she said. “It is unfortunate it wasn’t my place, but I am really, really happy with where I am now and the fact that I am going to spend the next three years at Michigan.”

At Patterson Mill, Thompson helped lead the Huskies to the school’s first girls lacrosse state championship in 2018. She was also a member of two girls basketball state championship teams.

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